What does a Dental Hygienist Do?

A dental hygienist is someone who helps care for patients and helps the dentist perform chapel hill teeth cleaning and x-rays.  Dental hygienists have an Associate’s degree with licensed certification; you can rely their skills to help you move towards a healthier mouth.

Essential Information

Dental hygienists are licensed by the state as trained in techniques to care for your mouth. Often dental hygienists can be found in dental offices cleaning teeth, taking x-rays and instructing people how to properly care for their teeth at home.  If you are someone who like working with people and are interested in healthcare, you may want to consider a profession as a dental hygienist.

Dental Hygienist Job Description

Dentists who are licensed to practice usually employed dental hygienists to help in the treatment of patients.  Dentists make the diagnoses and perform the procedures that they were trained to do in dental school.  Dental hygienists perform the more basic tasks of patient care like the cleaning teeth and helping the patient take care of their teeth at home between visits.  Dental hygienists can work independently of dentists while they complete their care of each patient.  Dental hygienists can expect to work closely with not only patients but dentists and the office staff to ensure the patient receives proper care through their whole visit.

Dental Hygienist Duties

Day to day, dental hygienists address each patient’s mouth; they remove plaque from teeth and polish them. The hygienist will take the time to talk to each patient about their dental habits, oral health history and the goals of the patient’s appointment.  When the patient needs x-rays to confirm the health of teeth below the gumline, the hygienist takes the x-rays for the dentist to review.  Before the patient leaves, the hygienist will take time to review the proper way to care for teeth and gums with flossing and brushing at home.

In some states, depending on the licensing board, some dental hygienists can remove stitches or administer anesthesia.  In some places dental hygienists can even help with the materials for fillings.

Dental Hygienist Requirements

After you graduate from an accredited program with an Associate’s degree, you then must pass a national licensing exam and a state or regional exam.  Some people even earn their bachelor’s or master’s degree before they move on to licensing.  There are even dental hygiene schools.

Testing Requirements

The National Board Dental Hygiene Examination is a written exam to assess knowledge of facts relating to dental hygiene. Another part includes a case study with a chart, photographs, and possible treatments.

The state or regional dental hygiene exam is usually a demonstration of skills used in a clinic on patients.

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

As of 2018, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the average annual salary to be $75,500 for dental hygienists.  Additionally, the projected job growth is 11% from 2018-2028, which is higher than average.  The location of the dentist office and the experience level of the hygienist will impact their salary.  The most experienced hygienists in major cities will earn the highest pay rates.

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At Cornerstone Family Dentistry in Chapel Hill, all our services are performed with the patient in mind. We want you to feel comfortable in the dental chair, confident in our work, and most importantly, we want you to fall in love with your smile again. If you would like to schedule an appointment or if you have any questions about cosmetic procedures that we offer, please contact us at (919) 595-1010.